BARDOT’S COMET: 2013 National Indie Excellence Book Awards finalist in the Cross-Genre category
BARDOT’S COMET is historical fiction, a literary crime novel set in Adelaide, South Australia, from 1966 to 1969. It is a period of intense social and scientific change: the rise of feminism and sexual liberation, the Vietnam War, the first lunar landing, the global debate on science versus religion, and the arrival of the Murchison meteorites.
Leonardo Bari, born in Italy, migrated to Australia with his parents at the turn of the 20th century. He married his Italian girlfriend, who dies during childbirth in 1924. Leonardo changes his daughter’s name to Prudence after his wife’s death. Now in his 70s he is a retired mathematics professor.
On the morning of 28 September 1969 a comet strikes land near Murchison in Australia. It it also the 35th birthday of the French actress Brigitte Bardot, Leonardo’s screen favourite. At the height of her science career, Prudence changes the name of Murchison’s comet to Bardot’s Comet. Prudence is viciously murdered that evening.
The simple act of changing names haunts Leonardo Bari as he questions its impact on his daughter’s life. Can changing a name alter one’s destiny? Does the occult art of numerology form an integral part of the cosmic plan for one’s life?
BARDOT’S COMET is Leonardo Bari’s diary of events from 1966 to 1969 – an introspective, self-doubting, paternalistic account of his daughter’s life, career, relationships, and death. The father-daughter mathematicians are a contrast in personalities. Leon is sensitive and traditional whereas Prudence is tough and progressive. Theories of fate, destiny, and the search for universal truth embrace the aged Italian migrant’s view of the pivotal three years in his daughter’s life – her controversial views of mysticism and feminist science receive both public adulation and criticism. Society questions her single status, her sexuality, and her choice of career over parenthood.
On Leonardo’s death, the Police Commissioner finds his journal. To set the record straight, the Police Commissioner adds his commentaries to Leonardo’s journal – and the truth is revealed.
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